The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

Cultural Education Committee



Carole F. Huxley


Recommendations of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries




April 24, 2006




 2, 3, 4 and 5




Executive Summary


Issue for Discussion


How can the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC) and the Regents work together to sustain library funding increases achieved this year?


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the Cultural Education Committee on May 22, 2006 for discussion. The Regents Advisory Council chair will present the RAC report. Following that presentation, the Committee will have the opportunity to question the Council members and to discuss their recommendations in detail.


Procedural History


The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the oldest continuing Regents advisory council, advises the Board on issues concerning library policy, works with the officers of the State Education Department in developing a comprehensive statewide library and information policy, and makes recommendations to the Regents for implementing library programs and initiatives.


Background Information


Each year the members report directly to the Board on their activities, concerns and recommendations. Your Regents Advisory Council on Libraries includes community leaders and library leaders who study and review library services to New Yorkers, discuss options with elected officials and engage the Regents in establishing priorities. A list of the RAC members is attached.




The Regents should accept the RAC report and work with its members to implement it as circumstances permit.


Timetable for Implementation


Implementation should begin immediately leading up to the 2007-2008 budget and legislative priorities.








May 2006


The members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries appreciate this opportunity to meet with the Regents and outline the key issues that are critical to libraries - public, school, academic, and special - in New York State.  We also thank you for your success in obtaining the first increase in Library Aid in nearly 10 years.

Preparing New York’s children to succeed in school is a goal libraries share with other components of the educational community.  A few examples of library/school cooperative programs illustrate the significance of libraries’ role in pursuing this goal across the State:

    Long Island: At Harborfields Public Library, Director Carol Albano and her staff work hand-in-hand with the local schools to enrich the learning experience for children, teachers and parents.  For example, each November kids in grades three through five sign up to “Go Cold Turkey - Give Your Tube a Break” and give up television for five days.  The library provides materials for reading and activities at home and offers lots of after-school programs to go along with the reading, such as bingo, games, and puzzles.  Of the 1,500 participants to date, about 800 have succeeded in going cold turkey.

A recent addition to the library schedule provides Homework Help at the Library three times a week from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., in which volunteer students from grades nine through 12 work with third- through eighth-graders.

    Western New York:  In 2005, the Erie 1 BOCES and Erie 2 Chautauqua Cattaraugus BOCES School Library Systems joined forces with the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, the Buffalo Alliance for Education, the Library Foundation of Buffalo and Erie County, Project Flight (a family literary program), the Buffalo News and the Buffalo Bills to promote and encourage children’s reading.  Students from 70 school districts and non-public schools cast their votes for the best books read during the year.  In April, the winning titles were revealed and shared in schools and public libraries, on websites, and even in the Buffalo News.

Why do we need to continue to fight for libraries and ensure that they have adequate support? Because libraries represent a major force in addressing the following issues:

   Encouraging and helping all parents to read to their infants and toddlers.  Recent brain research shows that if children do not experience the basic building blocks for literacy as infants, they will never be fluent readers by the time they reach third grade.

   Improving student achievement.  Strong school libraries with certified librarians, quality collections and expanded Internet access raise student test scores and achievement levels; yet elementary schools are not required by law to have librarians.

   Increasing students’ information literacy skills and training them in research techniques. Too many have a propensity to cut and paste materials from the Internet rather than follow the steps required in research.

   Ensuring that college and university students have access to libraries with high-quality collections, services, and staff.  A shocking statistic shows that only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it.

We congratulate all the Regents for the leadership that resulted in an increase of nearly $20 million in Library Aid in the 2006–07 State Budget, including $2.7 million, based on the 2000 census with hold-harmless to calculate aid, $3 million for the library systems and $14 million for public library construction and renovation.  We are grateful for your achievement in securing increased funding for these Regents priorities, and we add our thanks to Regents Dawson and Bowman for leading the Advisory Committee’s successful visits with legislative leaders.

Even with the progress made this year, New York is still falling behind.  According to national statistics, New York’s libraries rank number 23, down from 19 in 2004.  With strained local budgets, many libraries find it increasingly difficult to provide the staff time and resources needed for successful collaborations like those described above.  We ask for your help and support in reversing this trend.

The Regents Advisory Council is seeking support from the Regents in advancing the following priorities that will confront the issues above:

     An increase to $30 million for public library construction, building on this year’s successful achievement of $14 million in new funding.

    An increase of $14 million in funding for NOVEL (Fifty percent of school libraries do not have access to the NOVEL databases.)

    Expansion of the Statewide Summer Reading Program.

    Increased funding in 2007 for the Urban Library Initiative and support for the formation of public library districts.

Special Regents Action Recommended:

1.  Advance library priorities by inviting citizens to talk about the importance of libraries with legislators.

2.  Help all libraries succeed by providing support for State Library experts to assist libraries and for the library systems statewide, which provide the backbone of library services.

We are very gratified that libraries remain a Regents priority and that the Regents engage in legislative advocacy for libraries.  We hope that you will continue to ensure that libraries are discussed at the meetings you attend and in statements to the media.  We pledge to continue in our role of calling attention to the needs of New Yorkers for 21st century library services.




November 2005



Member (term expires)




Ms. Ellen Bach (2009)


Whiteman, Osterman, & Hanna, LLP

One Commerce Plaza

Albany, NY  12260

(518) 487-7736  Fax:  (518) 487-7777



Ms. Mary Lou Caskey (2008)

Director, Mid-York Library System

1600 Lincoln Avenue

Utica, NY  13502

(315) 735-8328  Fax:  (315) 735-0943



Ms. Ginnie Cooper (2009)

Executive Director

Brooklyn Public Library

Grand Army Plaza

Brooklyn, NY  11238

(718) 230-2403  Fax:  (718) 398-3947



Mr. Leonard T. D’Amico (2010)


The D & F Group

19-02 Whitestone Expressway

Whitestone, NY  11357

(718) 747-8700 X14  Fax:  (718) 747-8800



Mr. Norman J. Jacknis (2009)

Chief Information Officer

Department of Information Technology

148 Martine Ave.

White Plains, NY  10601

(914) 995-2976  Fax:  (914) 995-2999



Mr. Timothy V. Johnson (2007)

Librarian for Africana Studies, Anthropology & Food Science

New York University Libraries

70 Washington Square Park

New York, NY  10012-1091




Ms. Lucretia McClure* (2006)

Special Assistant to the Director

Countway Library of Medicine -Harvard Medical School

10 Shattuck Street

Boston, MA  02115

(617) 432-2635  Fax:  (617) 432-0693



Ms. Cerise Oberman (2006)

Dean of Library and Information Services

Feinberg 0211

SUNY Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

(518) 564-5180  Fax: (518) 564-5100



Mr. Samuel L. Simon (2010)

Trustee, Ramapo Catskill Library System

2 Salisbury Point 6C

South Nyack, NY  10960

(845) 358-1825



Dr. Karen Patricia Smith (2007)

Professor, Queens College

Graduate School of Library and Information Studies

Rosenthal Library – Room 254

65-30 Kissena Blvd.

Flushing, NY  11367

(718) 997-3790  Fax:  (914) 997-7197



Ms. Carol Tauriello  (2008)

Director, Erie 1 BOCES School Library System

355 Harlem Road

West Seneca, NY  14224

(716) 821-7070  Fax:  (716) 821-7292



Mr. Irving Toliver** (2007)

Director. Human Services Department

Town of Huntington

Huntington, NY  11743

(631) 351-3067  Fax: (631) 425-0746






**Vice Chair



Janet M. Welch                                       State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries                     (518) 474-5930

Loretta Ebert                                           Director, New York State Library                                                          (518) 473-1189

Carol Desch                                            Coordinator, Statewide Library Services                                                (518) 486-4862

Pat Webster                                            Associate, School Library Media Services (EMSC)                               (518) 486-2228